Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand Canyon

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Flood events have historically had a strong impact on riparian vegetation within Grand Canyon. Pre-dam sandbars were nearly devoid of perennial riparian vegetation due to the magnitude and frequency of periodic floods (Turner and Karpiscak, 1980). Vegetation has increased since dam closure (Waring, 1995), particularly since the early 1990s (Sankey and others, 2015). This increase in vegetation is attributable to multiple aspects of dam operations, including the low magnitude and duration of High-Flow Experiments (HFEs), specifically flows at 45,000 cfs or smaller over 96 hours. Thus, we begin by providing a broader context for understanding vegetation change, and how other factors interact with HFEs to determine their influence on riparian vegetation. We then discuss the potential mechanisms by which HFEs may impact vegetation, the empirical evidence for those impacts and associated confidence in that evidence, and future research approaches to better fill these gaps in our understanding.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand Canyon
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher US Bureau of Reclamation Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title High-Flow Experiments Assessment Extended Abstracts
First page 23
Last page 29
Conference Title Adaptive Management Work Group Meeting
Conference Location Tempe, AZ
Conference Date March 6-7, 2019
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Grand Canyon
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